India has been at the centre of viticulture for a very long time. It is believed that the first vines were introduced into the Indus Valley by the Persian Empire. Wherever you look in India’s history, you will find mentions of wine. When the Portuguese and the British colonised the continent, the production of wine became incredibly encouraged. It was at this time that the market for Indian wines really started to boom.
The Portuguese and British Influence
The Portuguese colonised India in the 16th century. They took over Goa and introduced a wine that is much more like a port. Fortified wines quickly became comfortable and production spread across India. During the Victorian era, the British Empire took over and domestic British colonists started to encourage winemaking and viticulture as a whole.
The Indian Wine Regions
The Kashmir, Baramati and Surat regions have mainly been used for the planting of vineyards. The Calcutta International Exhibition took place in 1883. This was the first time Indian wines were showcased and they were very well received. When the philoxeria epidemic swept through Europe, India was at the height of its wine production processes. Unfortunately, the disease ravaged the vineyards here as well, devastating most of the vineyards. It took a long time for recovery to start.
However, some 30 years ago, Maharashtra’s Chateau Indage was given assistance from various French winemakers. This made it possible for the Chateau to start importing the Vitis Vinifera varieties, creating both still and sparkling wines. The grape varieties include the Chardonnay, the Cabernet Sauvignon, the Pinot Noir, the Pinot Blanc and the Ugni Blanc.
There are now various vineyards found in the Maharashtra region again, mainly on the Deccan Plateau. Other areas include Nashik, Baramti, Sholapur and Sangli. Vineyards are now also found in Karnataka, which just outside of Bangalore.
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